Seeing succulents dying because of fungal infection is surely a tough moment in life of every true succulent lover. It is also stressful when you don’t know what to do, how to deal with the situation, and make sure your succulents will thrive again. And while I am generally against chemicals on plants, sometimes we do not have any other option.
Luckily we can opt for more organic fungicides, and there are a variety of interesting options we will look at now. For the future, however, remember that prevention is the best cure, and growing your succulents properly (see my complete guide on growing succulents here), you can minimize the risk of fungal infection.
Copper, sulfur, neem oil–your go to solutions when it comes to fungicides for succulents
Copper Fungicide is the most recommended one, at least by the majority of experienced succulent growers. In addition to that, it is believed that fungicides with sulfur, neem oil, or triforine may also help you deal with fungus problems on your beloved plants.
However, fungicides cannot totally destroy all the fungus infections and cure the damaged part of a succulent. The role of fungicides is to stop the spread of the fungus and save the remaining parts of the succulent plant.
Fungicides are very important in protecting succulents, but you should not apply them all the time. Proper caring and monitoring with your succulents are still the best things to do to keep the plants safe from fungal and other infections…
My favorite fungicides, quick list
I have used these products in the past, with satisfying results. I suggest you to check the products and opt for the one that suits your needs and also your budget, of course…
(* please note that these links are affiliate links, and if you decide to purchase one of the products, I will earn a few cents, which will help me continue running this website..)
Fungal Infections in Succulents
People say that succulents are easy plants to care for. Easy to care for, beautiful, and something you will enjoy having in you house. They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. But although they are versatile, they can all get a fungal infection when they experience changes in their environment. The following are common fungal infections that a succulent can get:
It is also known as the Black Mold. This fungal infection belongs to the least damaging fungi on succulents. It is believed that this kind of infection starts due to the honeydew exuded by the insects. The insects that are the source of this sweet substance are mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and scale. The honeydew becomes the food of the fungi and helps them multiply. This kind of fungi is less harm, however, it can destruct the succulents from performing photosynthesis.
Botrytis cinerea is the other term for this kind of infection. This is easy to identify, usually seen in the surface area of the succulent leaves and flowers. It produces grayish-brown spore masses. This type of infection is active during cold and wet weather in early spring or summer. The old, damaged or dying plant tissues are usually the sites where this kind of infection starts and spread quickly.
These kinds of fungi are harmless for the succulents because they have a wide tolerance for it. Despite its harmless effect, it can still affect the appearance of the succulents. The infected succulent will have shallow tan lesions or permanent stippling or spotting. It can’t give huge damage, but if a succulent is infected by this kind of fungus it can transfer the infection to another succulent and might affect all the succulents in your garden–that’s why you have to be careful about leaf spots.
A pathogen known as Fusarium oxysporum is the cause of this kind of fungal infection. It can disable a succulent from absorbing water. As a result, a succulent may experience heavy stress, wilting, yellowing, and the worst is death. This fungus starts by entering the roots and go through vascular tissues. There they multiply. When this happens, the tissues get blocked and absorbing water became hard for succulent. As a result, the succulents will produce brown streaks that can only be seen once you cut the leaf.
This infection is caused by the type of fungi called Colletotrichum. The infected succulent can have a moist tan-colored rot with red-orange, pink pustules on the surface. Unlike other fewer harm fungi, this fungus can affect the wide range of succulent plants.
The spots usually start and spread quickly on leaves and crowns. The fungus spreads taking advantage of contaminated pots and soil. The best treatment, however, is not to reuse soil and make sure that the tools are well sanitized before using. It is also recommended to cut out the infected part in order to avoid the spread of infection.
Root and Crown Rots
This kind of infection is caused by Phytophthora. Detecting the symptoms of this fungal infection is really hard to compare to other fungal infections. The reason is that there are no specific symptoms for this infection. The spread of the infection starts from the soil and goes upward. It can be prevented by giving enough water to the succulents and placing them in well-draining soil.
When and How to Use Fungicide?
Now that you know the several types of fungal infections, it is time to reveal the remedies you can do to save your succulents. You can use fungicides such as copper methylthiophanate, benomyl, dicyclidine, etc..
However, copper and other fungicides can only stop the spread of fungus and prevent other plants from getting infected. So, expect that the damaged areas cannot be revived anymore. It is very important to identify what type of infection the succulent is suffering. This is to make more effective treatment later on.
Copper Fungicides (click here to check this product on Amazon) can control various plant diseases such as peach leaf curl, powdery mildew, black spot, rust, anthracnose, fire blight, and bacterial leaf spot. Aside from succulents, it is also commonly used on vegetables, roses, fruits, and turf. In each gallon of water, mix 0.5 to 2.0 oz. of copper fungicide. But only use it if you are sure what infection you’re dealing with. Some fungi don’t need fungicides. When applying, make sure that the infected parts of succulents get enough fungicide. Spray it thoroughly. Repeat the spraying procedure every 7 to 10 days.
DIY Fungicides for the garden
If you are Eco-friendly and you don’t want to spend a large amount of money buying branded products, you can create your own fungicides for succulents. All you need to do is to buy household products. You will need the ingredients below to make your DIY fungicide:
- Baking Soda: Mix the 4 teaspoons or 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda in 1 gallon of water.
- Dish-washing Soap: It is also a popular homemade plant fungicide but makes sure that your dish washing soap doesn’t have greaser or bleach.
- Cooking oils: Plant growers usually mix cooking oils into homemade plant fungicide. This is to make them cling to leaves and stems.
- Pyrethin leaves: The flowers from the painted daisies are also commonly used as a fungicide for plants. The first thing to do is to dry the flower heads. Then, grind or soak them overnight in 1/8 cup of alcohol. Then mix it with 4 gallons of water. Lastly, strain it through cheesecloth.
- Bordeaux mixture: This DIY fungicide is very helpful during the dormant season for it will control the effect of fungal and bacterial diseases. The ingredients for making this fungicide are ground limestone and powdered copper sulfate. The 4-4-50 strength is the recommended application during the dormant season. Just mix the four parts of each with 50 gallons of water.
If you are interested in the materials I am using for my succulent plants, feel free to visit the page here.
Three key things to remember when it comes to treating fungus infections and buying fungicides
1. Diagnose the disease correctly
It is really important to identify first the real condition of your plant before considering the fungicide that you will apply to it. Browse the internet or books about the diseases related to the condition of your plant. You can also consult someone who has knowledge or expertise in identifying plant diseases that can recommend the right fungicide for your plant.
2. Read the label
Reading the labels of the fungicide will give you assurance if the product is safe to use in the home environment. Also, consider if it is not harmful to animals because some of the fungicides can be toxic. If you have pets such as tortoises that eat plants in your garden, you should be especially careful about applying any chemicals on your plants.
3. Consider the mixing instructions
Fungicides are not all the same. There will be differences in directions on how it should be mixed and how it should be applied to the plants. It is very important to consider if the fungicide that you will buy is easy to prepare for the needed volume of your plant. Also, don’t forget that you need to have a spray applicator at hand (it will be sufficient for small indoor plants).
Q: How do you get rid of the fungus in the garden soil?
A: First, remove the sick plants. Dig them up and throw them. Don’t use it as a fertilizer of the soil. Second, you need to clean up all garden debris at the end of the season. Third, rotate your crops. Change the way you planted your crops last year. You can also give your garden a break, don’t plant in your garden for a year to fight fungus multiplication. Fourth, plant disease-resistant varieties. Better find for a plant that can survive from common fungal diseases that start in soil. Lastly, use fungicide. Give your garden soil and garden plants early protection…
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